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Cambridge MA. -- Douglas A. Johnson has been named faculty director of Harvard Kennedy School's (HKS) Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Also a lecturer in public policy at HKS, Johnson assumed his Carr Center position on July 1.
Johnson stepped down in January 2012 as Executive Director of the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) after serving 24 years as head of the organization. During his tenure, CVT provided services to more than 23,000 torture survivors in one of its clinical sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Jordon, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the United States. In that time its staff grew from three to approximately 250 people.
As faculty director of the Carr Center, Johnson will set the strategic direction for the center as well as oversee its convening, research, teaching and other programmatic components. The Center, founded in 1999 through a gift from Greg Carr MPP 1986, is guided by a commitment to making human rights principles central to the formulation of good public policy in the United States and throughout the world.
"I am thrilled with the opportunity to lead the Carr Center at an important time in which scholars, students and policy makers are grappling with complex human rights challenges across the globe,” said Johnson. “The Center will continue to engage in research relevant to public policy debates and train human rights leaders while also working with human rights organizations on the front lines of current and future challenges.”
Johnson has a lengthy record working in the human rights arena, having launched the Nestle Boycott in 1977 and having co-founded the Infant Formula Action Coalition (INFACT) the same year. He served as INFACT’s first Executive Director until 1984. He also cofounded the International Nestle Boycott Committee (INBC) and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBAN). The latter organization played a critical role in developing and passing the United Nations’ first code to control the marketing practices of international companies. Johnson grew INFACT from one half-time staff member to 32 full-time staff members in six national offices, with 300 locally-affiliated action committees. INBC grew to include 120 major national organizations and had a collective membership of 40 million members and IBAN grew into an international network that included NGOs representing 67 nations.
Johnson served on the U.S. delegation to the annual human rights review of the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in 1996 and was also appointed as an original member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Experts’ Panel on the Prevention of Torture.
Johnson received his Masters in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Organization and Management and his undergraduate degree from Macalester College. He has been widely honored for his leadership in human rights and humanitarian service.